We are still in Suva, Fiji but the connection to Geelong is only a click away on the internet and I still read the Geelong Advertiser. Here's a story from a week or so ago tht caught my attention. Our Geelong home is in the vicinity of Eastern Park and it's a special place for us. Go, Joan, go! Meanwhile I still am making a few drawings around Suva and will post them after they are scanned. A tummy wog has set me back a couple of days. That suspicious chicken in a dank cafe in the grotty arcade. I should have known better. Hmmm.JOAN LINDROS: Eastern Park under threat
August 18th, 2008
EASTERN Park is undeniably one of Geelong's greatest treasures. Many visitors to the park would be surprised to learn there are historic lime kilns and a small beach at Eastern Park, hidden away behind the gun club at Limeburners Point.
While the rest of Eastern Park is well maintained by the City of Greater Geelong, the lime kilns and beach are sadly neglected. All manner of rubbish is washed up on the shore but the greatest amount of pollution comes from the gun club itself, in the form of clay targets, plastic wadding and lead shot.
This club has recently celebrated its centenary _ 100 years of shooting clay targets into the bay. The clay targets do not decompose. They remain on the cliffs, foreshore and intertidal flats, and are slowly washed by wave action along the beach towards Point Henry.
The rockpools we explored as children and the indigenous vegetation on the cliffs have been buried under an avalanche of clay targets. It is not surprising the gun club site is listed on the EPA priority sites register. It is surprising the club is not fined for the pollution or made to clean up the area.
Limeburners Point in Eastern Park can no longer be considered a suitable location for a gun club. Although there is a path to the beach, the fences around the gun club site effectively prevent access to this part of Eastern Park and the extent of the pollution of this area is concealed from the general public. Seven years ago, the State Government announced the club must move so the site could be rehabilitated but the City of Greater Geelong renewed its lease for another seven years.
Although the State Government did not promise to provide a new site, several alternative venues have been suggested over the past seven years, including a purpose-built facility at Werribee. The gun club has rejected every one.
Eventually, the State Government removed the city of Geelong as committee of management and it seemed responsible action would be taken to remove the club and clean up the area, with the State Government issuing a notice to quit the site.
The club has chosen to ignore the notice to quit and continues to shoot in Eastern Park. It has thumbed its nose at the State Government and the people of Geelong. The club continues to deny access to the foreshore, effectively preventing the general public from seeing the pollution it causes.
The Government has taken a softly softly attitude to the task of removing the gun club but stronger action is needed to protect our bay from ongoing pollution. The Government should commence cleaning up the area now, and start by removing the equipment, ugly sheds and containers on Limeburners Point. Easy access should be restored to the whole area as soon as possible.
It would seem only fair the gun club members themselves contribute to the cost of the clean up, either in cash or in kind. This area should be one of the highlights of our beloved Eastern Park. Families should be able to picnic on the point and enjoy the views, and explore the beach and the lime kilns.
Joan Lindros is president of the Geelong Environment Council.
Labels: Geelong Eastern Park